Eating disorders and celebrity culture are often connected because more and more stars are speaking out about their struggle with bulimia or anorexia. Kesha, Elton John, Jane Fonda, Zoe Kravitz, Zayn Malik, Hillary Duff, Demi Lovato, Shawn Johnson, Lily Collins, and Russell Brand are only a small sampling of Hollywood’s biggest names who also fight disordered eating habits and warped feelings about their body’s size and weight.
Celebrities may be leading much-needed dialogue about eating disorders, but they are not the only ones that anorexia and bulimia plague. Approximately 30 million people have anorexia or bulimia.
It might be tempting to think of them as a picky phase teenagers grow out of, but they are severe illnesses that can have detrimental, long-term health effects and even become life-threatening. In fact, anorexia claims the highest death rates of any psychiatric disorder. And yet, only about 10 percent of anorexics and bulimics receive the treatment they need.
Eating disorders have effective treatments. Psychological and medication interventions are available and can be individualized to each person’s needs and symptoms. The first step in most treatment plans, usually, is gathering the courage to ask for help.
Thriveworks Media offers counseling for anorexia and bulimia, and our therapists know the medicals risks that anyone with bulimia or anorexia faces. We want to bring holistic care to each client.
Friends and family members who have sincere and kind intentions may compliment people with bulimia or anorexia on how healthy and skinny they seem. This well-meaning praise may inadvertently perpetuate the problem, however. Skinny and healthy are not synonyms, and bulimia and anorexia can be detrimental to a person’s health. They often introduce severe medical risks into a person’s life.
Anorexia may cause the following medical conditions: heart failure, low blood pressure, abnormal heart beat, low heart rate, infertility, endocrine disruptions, menstrual cycle disruptions, premature osteoporosis, low white blood cells, anemia, kidney damage, and even death.
Bulimia may cause the following medical conditions: gastric rupture, kidney damage, tooth decay, gastroesophageal reflux disease, ulcers, electrolyte imbalance, and heart failure.
Because they have the potential for such serious medical problems, recognizing the signs and symptoms of bulimia and anorexia is of utmost importance. Early recognition may allow for early treatment.
Recognizing Bulimia and Anorexia
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) recognizes several eating disorders, but anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa are likely the most well known. Most commonly called simply anorexia and bulimia, these disorders have distinct characteristics and diagnoses.
The DSM-5 gives the following diagnostics for anorexia:
- Disgust for one’s body weight or shape with an inability to comprehend one’s below normal body weight.
- Acute and irrational fear of weight gain that leads to impeding healthy weight gain and maintenance.
- Severely limiting food consumption with the result of a substantially lower body weight in relationship to a person’s sex, physical health, developmental trajectory, and age.
The DSM-5 gives the following diagnostics for bulimia:
- Repeated times of binge eating, including,
- Consuming, during a certain time period, food that is clearly more than most people could eat during the same time period and under similar circumstances.
- Losing control over food during the binge.
- Trying to inhibit weight gain through repeated, inappropriate, compensatory behaviors that may include excessively exercising; misusing laxatives, diuretics, or other medications; fasting too long and too frequently; self-induced vomiting.
- A self-image that is obsessed with body weight and shape.
Bulimia and anorexia also share many characteristics. Depression and anxiety disorders often surface with these eating disorders, and both men and women can experience bulimia or anorexia. They usually begin showing symptoms during the teen or early adulthood years, but people of any age (including young children and older adults) can develop an eating disorder.
How Do Bulimia and Anorexia Form?
The details of how an eating disorder develops are usually unique and personal, but therapists speak generally about two categories of causes for eating disorders: environmental and biological.
- Examples of environmental causes might include experiencing family trauma or childhood abuse, peer pressure to be a certain body type, or living in a culture that values unrealistic ideas of beauty.
- Examples of biological causes might include genetics, nutritional deficiencies, and irregular hormone functions.
Getting Help for Anorexia or Bulimia
Anorexia and bulimia are serious disorders, but they have effective treatments. Thriveworks Media offers therapy, and our counselors individualize treatment plans to fit each client’s needs.
Getting help for anorexia and bulimia can feel intimidating, so we have done what we can to provide support throughout the process. When you call our office, a person will answer your call and make your appointment. We offer convenient weekend and evening appointments. Many first-time clients see their counselor within 24 hours. We also accept many insurance plans.
You do not have to fight bulimia or anorexia alone. We can work together for your mental and physical health. Call Thriveworks Media today.